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The Dordogne, France

Information about the Dordogne River Valley

Dordogne, France tourist information from France This Way

Office de Tourisme de Sarlat

Rent a canoe and explore the area from the river. You can hire a canoe from many places along the river and they will pick you up at an agreed-upon site down river. And you can go ashore and explore anywhere you want to, such as at one of the towns along the river like La Roque-Gageac for example. This is a good town to visit while you are in the region, whether you get here by car or canoe. See Hôtel La Belle Étoile in the lodging section below if you decide you want to stay here.

Notice the stone roofs (lauzes) in this region. Made of flat limestone rocks, they are very steep so that they distribute the heavy load to the walls of the buildings. The plentiful rocks were a cheap building material, very durable, and small vents provide air circulation.

Things to do and Places to go

La Roque-Gageac

laroquegageac La Roque-Gageac Tourist Information, Gites and Hotels

In places, La Roque-Gageac is little more than a row of riverside houses squeezed between the Dordogne river in front and the overhanging cliffs behind. In other places the town spreads up the hill a little, towards the caves set in the cliffs above. There is also an interesting tropical garden with palm trees and banana plants. La Roque-Gageac has been named a 'most beautiful village of France', and won the 'prettiest village in France' contest. You should arrive early at La Roque-Gageac to avoid the coaches that arrive later in the day.



Beynac

beynac Beynac Tourist Information, Gites and Hotels

Beynac is spread along the northern bank of the Dordogne river, and then winds up the hill to the castle above. The narrow lanes between the traditional Dordogne honey-coloured buildings wind up the hill, and the main street is the basket-makers path (Carnival del Panieraires).

The castle at the top of the hill is the Château de Beynac. This was a French stronghold during the "hundred years' war". The English had the equally magnificent Château de Castelnaud on the other side of the river. The castle is a very interesting château to visit. You will surely want to stand in the same spot as Richard the Lionheart and take in the magnificent views across miles of beautiful countryside.

There is also an interesting archaeology park in Beynac with typical neolithic buildings.



La Roque St. Christophe

christophe La-Roque-Saint-Christophe

This is a large prehistoric settlement complex and is located about 9 km north of Les Eyzies, on the south bank of the Vezere River. La Roque St Christophe is an extensive series of caves carved out of the soft limestone cliff by the action of the river almost a kilometre in length and 80 metres high. About 55,000 years ago man first started to inhabit hese natural caves. In the 6th to the 16th centuries the cliff also was developed as a village, with numerous buildings and fortifications. The official history records people using these terraces as protection from raiding Vikings. Watchtowers were set up along the river and when the alarm was sounded, people would flee to the protection of the caves. There are recreations here of the winches that they would use to haul their animals up with them. It was finally abandoned in 1588.



Sarlat

sarlat Sarlat Tourist Information, Gites and Hotels

Fine examples of architecture from both medieval and renaissance times can be found in the Old Town. Try to catch the early morning sunshine on the yellow sandstone buildings.

Having stayed loyal to the French crown throughout the hundred years' war, Sarlat was rewarded by with Fernch king with lots of money to rebuild the town. Since this was between about 1450 and 1550, much of the architecutre is in the Renaissance style.

If you can, try to be there on a Saturday when it is market day in Sarlat. Taking place in the "Square of the Geese," be sure to taste the foie gras which is a big draw for tourists to visit this area.



Lascaux

lascaux Lascaux caves

The Cave of Lascaux

Because of the deteriation that has occurred because of visitors over the years since the caves were first discovered, the caves are now closed to the public. However, you can take a guided tour of Lascaux II, an elaborate recreation of the original caves. The region also has many more examples of pre-historic cave paintings.



National Museum of Prehistory

prehistory National Museum of Prehistory Musée National de Préhistoire
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Tél: 05 53 06 45 65

With over 18,000 bones, stones, and artifacts, the museum shows that the Magdalenian people who lived here 15,000 years ago were far more advanced than the cavemen we often think of.



Lodging

Hôtel Le Bellevue

bellevue Hôtel Le Bellevue

Regourdou, 24290 Montignac
Tél: 011-33/ 05 53 51 81 29
Open year round.

Only one room has a small private terrace, so book well in advance. Beautifule views, nothing around except fields and farmland. Overlooks the tiny town of Montignac.
The Lascaux Cave is only a five minute walk from here.



Hôtel Les Glycines

glycines Hôtel Les Glycines

24620 Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Tél: +33(0)5.53.06.97.07

Available on request: Massage, Picnic basket, Bicycle hire, Car hire, Baby-sitting, Chauffeur-driven car, taxis

An ideal base for visiting the area's prehistoric sites.



Hôtel Le Moulin de la Beune

moulin Hôtel Le Moulin de la Beune

24620 Les Eyzies-de-Tayac -- Dordogne Périgord
Tél: +33 (0)5 53 06 94 33

Living in the Périgord is a privilege!
An area blessed by the gods, where Man finds his roots. On the banks of the Beune at the foot of the cliffs, in the cool and the quiet, the days drift past with exquisite slowness. Exceptional perfumes, and exceptional tastes allied with the love of food. For at the Moulin de La Beune, the art of living is inconceivable without gastronomy.



Hôtel La Belle Étoile

etoile Hôtel La Belle Étoile

24250 - La Roque Gageac
Tél: (+33) (0)5 53 29 51 44

A member of Logis de France, the hotel is an old family residence situated in one of the most beautiful villages in France. Magnificent view over the Dordogne River, shaded terrace. Well appointed rooms. Sophisticated traditional cuisine with some innovative touches. 1 suite with air-conditionning. Wifi at the hotel desk.



Hôtel Le Chambellan

chambellan Hôtel Le Chambellan

Place de l'église 24220 Le Coux et Bigaroque
Tél: 05.53.29.90.11
Closed in December and January

Just a short walk from one of the few official beaches on the Dordogne.



Hôtel de Charme La Maison des Peyrat

peyrat Hôtel de Charme La Maison des Peyrat

Le Lac de la Plane 24200 Sarlat
Tél: 05 53 59 00 32

On the hill of the Plane, 1.5km from the centre of Sarlat set in quiet and green gardens, La maison des Peyrat will charm you with its warm atmosphere and authentic surrounding.



Hôtel de Charme La Mas de Castel

castel Hôtel de Charme La Mas de Castel

"Le Sudalissant" 24200 Sarlat
Tél: 00 33 (0)5 53 59 02 59

The Mas de Castel is a traditional and charming hotel, situated in the quiet of the countryside, just 3 kms south of the historical center of Sarlat, from where it is well-signposted following the direction of the Dordogne Valley or Gourdon.



Hôtel La Treille

treille Hôtel La Treille à Vitrac

Le Port - 24200 Vitrac
Tél: 00 33 (0)5 53 28 33 19

The ideal place for discovering the route of the thousand and One Châteaux, the valley of prehistory (Lascaux, Les Eyzies "World renowned centre for prehistory") and medieval riches (Beynac, Domme and Sarlat).



Hôtel de Charme Domaine de la Rhue

rhue Hôtel de Charme Domaine de la Rhue

46500 Rocamadour
Tél: + 33 (0)5 65 33 71 50

Only a few minutes from the famous pilgrimage of Rocamadour, on the way to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle, the Domaine de la Rhue is an elegant charming hotel surrounded by dry line stone walls, ancestral heritage.












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Contents © Copyright 2001 Author: Lee Briggs except where noted. All rights reserved.